CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The official name for President Obama's health-care law is the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." Yet, despite its misleading title, Obamacare will do anything but provide affordable health care.
When the bill's series of mandates and tax increases are fully implemented in January 2014, Americans of all ages and incomes will be faced with the daunting realization that our nation's health-care system will never be the same.
Employers and their employees will be hit hard by the upcoming mandates and tax increases. Not only will they provide a strong disincentive for businesses to grow and provide jobs, but they will lead to lower wages for many workers. They will also cause an estimated 7 million Americans to lose the employer sponsored health coverage that they currently enjoy. And sadly, even companies that comply with employer mandates are not exempt from increased fees. Many are just learning that employers will also be forced to pay a yearly fee over the next three years for every employee that receives insurance.
It's not just businesses and their employers who will bear the brunt of this misguided law -- Americans of all ages will be affected. Younger Americans will feel the pinch as their insurance premiums rise and seniors' care will be deeply harmed by the $716 billion in cuts to Medicare that were used to partially finance the $2 trillion law. President Obama's own Medicare actuaries estimate that 15 percent of all hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health facilities will be unable to serve Medicare patients by 2019, and this figure will increase to 40 percent in 2050.
Families and single individuals of all income levels will see their premiums increase. Nationwide, single adults between the ages of 21 and 29 who earn at least $25,000 per year and buy insurance in the individual market will see their premiums increase next year by an average of 42 percent. In West Virginia, the average health-insurance premium in the individual market will increase by 56 percent. Despite the president's promises of insuring families of lower income levels, families earning $46,000 may not qualify for government subsidies and will therefore bear the full cost of these premium increases.
If the looming mandates and taxes aren't enough to convince Americans that Obamacare is bad medicine, enrolling in the government exchanges might be enough to convince them. A draft exchange plan enrollment form is 21 pages long, and asks individuals to provide information about their employer's health plan that they almost certainly will not have. That 21-page form will only determine a person's eligibility for government subsidies or tax credits, even more paperwork will be necessary to actually sign up for insurance coverage.
Along with many in Congress, I voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2009. Since then, I have voted on multiple occasions to repeal and defund implementation of the law because Americans deserve better than devastating Medicare cuts, tax increases and mandates. They deserve patient-centered reforms that make health care affordable and available for families, but it will take repealing the Affordable Care Act to do that.
Capito, of Charleston, represents West Virginia's Second District and is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.